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Eric Potter

Harvey Howell, president of H.H. Howell, Inc., an oil and gas exploration company in San Antonio, calls to check the status of the arrival of a drilling rig at his site in Frio County. The third generation wildcatter was investing $1.3 million in the drilling operation, marked by the stake in the foreground. He calculated his odds at finding oil at 10-1 against.

Wildcatter bets big on Eagle Ford’s fringe

Wildcatter Harvey Howell hunts and hopes for elusive reserves on the edge of the booming Eagle Ford shale, without the 3-D seismic imaging and billion-dollar budgets of major oil companies drilling nearby.

Big bets on Eagle Ford next year

Between 2012 and 2015, the industry likely will sink more than $116 billion into the Eagle Ford — more than the cost of developing the Kashagan offshore field in Kazakhstan, which has been called the world’s most expensive standalone energy project.